What the Master Plan considers
The campus built form
How will the campus change in the next 20 years?
To achieve the University goal of being a global top 1 per cent teaching and research university, we will need to grow student numbers at the Wollongong Campus by 3,000 over the next 20 years. Accommodating this number of students will require around 80,000 square metres of additional floor space.
Will more students simply mean more buildings?
The Campus Master Plan ensures that the built environment maintains a commitment to urban design excellence and sustainable development principles including high-quality landscaped areas and open spaces that enrich the Wollongong campus experience. A key part of the expansion will be to refurbish and replace existing buildings with better designed buildings providing greater capacity. Creating a connected digital campus will enable staff, students and guests to connect and interact through flexible spaces.
What measures are in place to guide the height and style of building architecture?
The built form guidelines for academic buildings are based on heights of typically 4 to 5 storeys. This means buildings will be approximately in line with existing tree heights with minimal interruption to landscape views. The proposed changes also provide a unique opportunity to upgrade Northfields Avenue to be the principal face of the University and gateway to the Keiraville and Gwynneville neighbourhoods.
How does the plan help strike a balance between a growing campus footprint and best-practice in sustainability?
The University has improved its sustainability performance over the past five years. The Master Plan builds on key initiatives to reduce the campus’s energy and water consumption, waste production and embodied energy use in materials. Refurbishing and replacing older building stock provides an opportunity for design that incorporates sustainable use of resources in construction and building use.
The campus landscape and natural environment
How will the key legacy of the campus’s bushland setting be maintained while catering for growth?
Over the next 20 years, the University will draw on national and international best practice for sustainability to assess the health and carbon footprint of the campus. Targets include a 20 per cent reduction in consumption of energy, water, materials and waste production over the next 20 years. Further, the campus will be divided into six precincts, each characterised by particular vegetation. The planning will retain each precinct’s vegetation and rich biodiversity to become a true botanic university.
Will more buildings mean loss of flora and habitat for fauna?
The Wollongong campus has a strong landscape and natural environmental character that should be celebrated. The Master Plan guidelines provide for the redevelopment of existing buildings and the use of digital technology to make better use of space campus-wide. The development controls also specify riparian corridors that are protected from development.
How will the problem of flooding and water flow be improved?
Flood mitigation measures include improved drainage to handle stormwater and flooding, re-establishing Cabbage Tree Creek and putting diversions in place to direct overflow into improved watercourses. The planned drainage system works will bring flood mitigation into line with industry best practice for minor flood events.
Campus access and transport
How does the plan help improve access to the campus for all modes of transport?
The University will continue to work with NSW Roads and Maritime Services to plan for the proposed Mt Ousley Interchange, which would serve as a new northern entrance to the campus. This would help alleviate the congestion and traffic along southern campus interface and the inner north-east suburbs would have convenient pedestrian, public transport and cycling access to the campus. In addition, the Plan introduces the concept of pedestrian-friendly gateways to provide a welcoming entrance to the campus that better connects to the neighbourhood.
What measures are in place to adequately cater for staff, students and visitors who choose to drive to campus?
Car parking will be consolidated on the campus periphery, providing easy access to core campus. Current works include a new six-storey car park that when complete in 2017, will bring the total number of parking spaces on campus to 3424, an increase of 8.5 per cent on current numbers. Further parking improvements could include an underground car park beneath the existing field and adjacent Oval 2 in line with the proposed northern gateway. The extension of the Ring Road between Robsons Road and car park P5 will allow for greater diversion of traffic along Robsons Road, alleviating pressure on Irvine Street and the eastern entrance. In addition, the University is ready to provide financial support for a neighbourhood traffic study to better understand the needs in the local area.
What is the UOW doing to improve access and facilities for people who walk or cycle to campus?
Improved physical connections to and between the Wollongong campuses are imperative in integrating the campus into a University City. Any initiatives must take into consideration aligned projects and partnerships in surrounding neighbourhoods and in Wollongong more broadly. The Plan identifies the need for a series of pedestrian walks and improved pedestrian safety throughout the campus as well as upgrades to cycle paths and bike infrastructure. A campus-to-beach cycleway would improve connections between the campuses as well as surrounding suburbs and the city centre. To achieve this goal requires collaboration with stakeholders including RMS and Wollongong City Council.
Will public transport links be improved?
The University has clear strategies and targets to increase public transport journeys taken to the University, which will be essential in managing growth and relieving car parking demand. Extending capacity of the existing bus terminus and improving arrival facilities with a new campus entrance and arrival plaza will improve the experience for bus users. The University will continue to collaborate with local council and Transport NSW to improve public transport services as part of the University's continued effort to encourage a shift from private car usage.
The community on, around and near the campus
How was the community’s voice heard in preparing the Master Plan?
The consultation process was extensive and involved engagement sessions with the University community and the broader Wollongong community. This has involved more than 500 people attending consultations at forums, meetings and information stalls on campus and key community events. Staff and students were invited to contribute to the Master Plan’s development in the form of workshops and drop-in sessions held on campus. Local residents and workers had an opportunity to participate in the dialogue through drop-in sessions held in the Wollongong CBD, at community events and local shopping centres. Meetings were also held with key community groups. Local, regional and state government agencies were engaged to determine potential alignments with funding channels and projects planned or already under way, and to consider relevant local regional plans. Find out more about the consultation process.
What impact will the proposals have on the local area and region?
The University generates more than $2 billion in economic activity each year. This is helping transform Wollongong from a steel town to a university city focused on the knowledge economy. It is a gradual transition but it is happening and this Campus Master Plan will play an important role in guiding the physical aspects of this change.